Referendum outcome is ambiguity

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Standard Life’s current deliberations (your report, 28 February) inform our understanding of future fiscal and economic realities. There will be no currency union in the event of a Yes vote and major financial institutions will likely leave.

Major international investors and multinational companies will be considering future options beyond confinement in a marginal, off-shore state.

We have enhanced understanding of independent Scotland’s international standing: exposed, volatile and politically naïve. Such intelligence should determine the outcome of the referendum vote.

Alarmingly, it shapes our anticipation of Scotland after the current campaigns.

Independent Scotland has all the major stakeholders running scared – not of its strength, but of its weakness.

The greater danger lies now in the pre-emptive actions of major economic players and stakeholders.

Scotland may find it difficult to hang on to those 
dimensions and advantages it has currently.

Once gone, will institutions ever return; will their planning wait for the referendum outcome; and what is the mindset of those institutions which, previously, might have come and invested, but will now think twice?

Even when the outcome is No, the business conclusion will be never to be in this exposed position again, even if given the devo-max booster.

The longstanding forecast of the referendum outcome is ambiguity, the worst of electoral worlds. While Scotland will remain in the Union, the questions over its vigour will have been raised because the Yes vote is likely to settle as a significant minority. A Yes vote, though disastrous, would be clear. Scotland would be impoverished relatively, but would be getting on with it.

The Nationalists could fall back on emotion, and their invention of a nation. But a No vote, on a 60-40 basis, has all the elements to sap self-confidence and to fix doubt in the minds of business and the international community.

Scotland will need to come to terms with itself and its No vote: much more difficult will be to deal with the aftermath.

(Prof) Bill Wardle

Southbrae Drive

Glasgow

Following Standard Life’s announcement that it may move its operations outside Scotland in the event of 
independence, perhaps pro-unionists should show their appreciation by investing in the company. Other companies that have been reluctant to express similar views might then feel it worth their while to do so.

Tim Jackson

Whim Road

Gullane, East Lothian

We have been told, repeatedly, by the pro-independence lobby that, after independence, Scotland will become a more attractive place to do business.

Why then do we not hear of any named companies that will only move here if we get independence?

Andrew Black

Lady Place

Livingston

Standard Life has raised its head above the parapet and indicated that it will leave a separated Scotland. Who can blame it?

It must think of its employees and the future of the company and in Salmond’s Scotland there would be no Bank of England safety net and the currency question raises uncertainty stratospherically.

Can there be any doubt, even in the mind of the most stalwart Nationalist, that a host of major companies and banks will follow that lead?

If we add to this the certain haemorrhage of UK defence jobs and bases that will follow separation, one begins to wonder seriously about the future employment chances of our children and grandchildren.

Alexander McKay

New Cut Rigg

Edinburgh

Obviously, now is the time for all Scottish investors to withdraw their funds from Standard Life and transfer them to a company which believes in Scotland’s future.

Andrew McCabe

Ravelston Dykes Road

Edinburgh

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